Viral website gives marketers control of your Facebook or Twitter account

Consumer Reports News: October 14, 2011 02:23 PM

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An increasing number of websites allow visitors to "sign in" using a Twitter or Facebook account. But as readers at Consumerist have discovered, you could be giving up more than just some personal information.

The Hunger Games is a wildly popular series of books about a dystopian future where the government spies on your every move and teenagers square off in a to-the-death tournament for the amusement of the upper-class residents of the capitol city. The books are soon to become a big-time Hollywood franchise and as part of the much-hyped countdown to that release, millions of people are getting in on the viral marketing by logging onto a website that creates a unique badge for each user. But are these people looking at the permissions they're signing away when they log in?

We've received complaints from people who went to to take part in the badge-making fun, only to find out that they are required to use either Facebook or Twitter to log in. And then when you click either of those options, you're greeted with a litany of permissions you need to grant the site.

Signing up through Twitter allows this site to:

  • Read Tweets from your timeline.
  • See who you follow, and follow new people.
  • Update your profile.
  • Post Tweets for you.

Signing up via Facebook gives the site the following permissions:

  • Access my basic information
    (name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, and any other information you've made public)
  • Send me email
  • Post to Facebook as me
  • Access my data any time
  • Access my custom friend lists
  • Access my profile information
    (Birthday and Current City)
  • Access my photos
  • Access information people share with me
    (Birthdays, Family Members and Relationship Statuses and Current Cities)

One person who made a badge on the site tells Consumerist she was originally able to sign up and create hers using just an e-mail but confirms that the site has been updated in the days since and that this option no longer appears.

The Hunger Games [Scholastic]
The Hunger Games movie website

Chris Morran

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